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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Oct 2007

    Default Isn’t our financial crisis fair warning?

    Isn’t our financial crisis fair warning?

    To the self-actualizing self-learner who has studied briefly the high points in human history the prospect of ever comprehending the human condition seems overwhelming. Where to begin? Perhaps some comprehension as to why the ancients could only propose eschatological solutions becomes apparent. Explanations for the human condition can come only from the beyond; perhaps only the will of God can be a starting point.

    When we realize this we perhaps will be less condescending regarding the errors of the early thinkers when they began to seek a human solution for a crisis in human knowledge. How to set a coherent path to alleviate the chaotic drift in education and the fragmentation of thought?

    The term ‘Renaissance Man’ suggests a wo/man of many accomplishments. S/he is a person who is not a specialist but a generalist, a person who knows a significant amount about many domains of knowledge rather than knowing more and more about less and less as does the specialist.

    We might consider two classifications of knowledge similar to Aristotle’s definition. Accordingly one can have a ‘scientific knowledge’ of a matter or one can have an ‘educational acquaintance’ with that matter. Scientific knowledge is the possession of the specialist who knows not just general principles and conclusions of the field but also many of the detailed findings included therein. Educational acquaintance comes with a comprehension of the methods of the subject, not just the details, particulars, and conclusions. A person with an educational acquaintance with a domain of knowledge is a person who is “critical” in that field.

    To quote Aristotle “It will, however, of course, be understood that we only ascribe universal education to one who in his own individual person is thus critical in all or nearly all branches of knowledge, and not to one who has a like ability merely in some special subject. For it is possible for a man to have this competence in some one branch of knowledge without having it in all.”

    The individual with an educational acquaintance in a field of knowledge is one who is capable of sorting out sense from non-sense in that field.

    Some will whine that today, with all of our knowledge, it is impossible for anyone to become a Renaissance Person. I say non-sense! With the world’s accumulated knowledge at our finger-tips anyone who has practiced the art and science of navigating knowledge can quickly gain an educational acquaintance with any domain of knowledge in a matter of weeks rather than a matter of years as would be required in ancient times.

    Is a modern day Renaissance man or woman impossible?

    I do not think that is impossible. Today becoming a Bacon or a Thomas is, relatively, a piece of cake.

  2. #2
    it's a nuclear device antireconciler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    5w4 so


    There's something to this, but just as information across fields has become easier to access, so too have the frontiers of those fields extended outward. In a way, as the trunk of the tree becomes thicker, so to the branches extend further outward. The analogy is useful because the thickness of the trunk, that is, the ease with which information is available across fields is very often a factor limiting or at least impeding the extent of the branches, or individual fields.

    A person today can find themselves yesterday's Renaissance person much more easily simply because the extent of the branches of yesterday are quite close to the trunk of today, as the whole body of knowledge has grown since then. Does this make one a Renaissance person also today? Perhaps, and perhaps not. Arguably it is every bit as difficult or rare as ever for someone to gain the same depth in many fields, measured against the extent of the current knowledge in those fields, rather than statically. But arguably, the average person of today is far more ready to think critically in multiple fields given an inherently more multidisciplinary education today emphasizing critical thinking skills, and perhaps that qualifies them for the title of itself.
    ~ a n t i r e c o n c i l e r
    What is death, dies.
    What is life, lives.

  3. #3
    Content. Content? DigitalMethod's Avatar
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    May 2008


    Quote Originally Posted by coberst View Post
    Today becoming a Bacon or a Thomas is, relatively, a piece of cake.
    Finding someone with common sense is becoming quite a chore. Let alone someone who is adverse to lying.
    "The life of the individual has meaning only insofar as it aids in making the life of every living thing nobler and more beautiful."
    - Albert Einstein

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